Çalikuşu (The Autobiography of a Turkish Girl) now available in a complete, new English translation



The book is available on Amazon:






and the Kindle Edition is available at






Calikusu cover





Çalikuşu (The Wren)

by Reşat Nuri Güntekin

The Complete English Translation

Parts 1-4 Translated from The Turkish by Sir Wyndham Deedes

Part 5 Translated from The Turkish by Tugrul Zure and Edited by Angel Garcia






Çalikuşu (The Wren, 1922) is a novel by the Turkish author Reşat Nuri Güntekin (1889-1956). The novel was published in English translation in 1949 under the title of The Autobiography of a Turkish Girl. The English translation, by Sir Wyndham Deedes, was incomplete.

Deedes did not translate the entire novel. The Deedes translation has long been out of print and is almost impossible to acquire.

Now a new, complete translation has been published.


— Roger W. Smith

   October 2018






by Angel Garcia

This book is the result of an unexpected journey down a rabbit hole.

My mother loves foreign dramas. She fell in love with Feride and Kamran, the main characters of a Turkish drama that is available on Netflix. The drama is based on a Turkish book and she pleaded with me to find an English translation (if you know Filipino mothers, you will know the power of their soulful dark eyes and singsong voices). I figured the task would be an easy one, and the perfect Christmas present.

On Netflix, the drama is called Lovebird in English and Çalikuşu in Turkish. A bit of digging online revealed that Çalikuşu actually means “wren” and that the book is a Turkish classic written by Reşat Nuri Güntekin in 1922. An English translation by Sir Wyndham Deedes was written in 1949 but I could not find any available hardcopies. More digging, however, led me to an online file of the English translation, on which I spent many post-workday evenings manually typing it up and formatting it into a manuscript. Mission accomplished! I printed an actual physical book for my overjoyed mother that Christmas.

But I wasn’t fully content. My investigation also revealed that the English translation was incomplete. Fortunately, my engineering colleague and good Turkish friend, Tugrul Zure, was willing to check. I purchased the original Turkish version for him to compare with my manuscript and it was confirmed: the English version of Part 5 had left out many, many pages. Having now watched all the episodes on Netflix and also having read Deedes’ translation, I was intrigued and emotionally invested in Feride’s 192o’s Turkish life. The Netflix version of the story has deviations from the Turkish classic novel and ends much earlier than the classic novel, omitting Feride’s teaching adventures. How did Çalikuşu really end? If I could somehow procure a complete Part 5, would I even be allowed to put it together with Deedes’ Parts 1 to 4?

Luck was on my side. I began a search for the rights holder to Deedes’ work. Sir Wyndham Deedes passed away in 1956 without a wife or children. I instead found his grandnephew, Jeremy Wyndham Deedes, who was kind enough to allow me to use his great uncle’s work in assembling a complete English translation of Çalikuşu. To top it all off, my friend Tugrul was willing to help me translate the complete Part 5. Despite having moved away and preparing to have a baby with his wife on the other side of Canada, be continued to help me remotely.

So, a gigantic thank you Tugrul Zure and also to Jeremy Wyndham Deedes, who has graciously given his permission on behalf of the Deedes’ family. I can only hope that Reşat Nuri Güntekin and Sir Wyndham Deedes would approve.

Mom, enjoy! That goes for you too, Netflix Lovebird fans.





a (2).jpg


b (3).jpg


c (2).jpg

The first page of Part Five, which has hitherto not been translated into English.






See also my post:
“A Turkish Novel”

10 thoughts on “Çalikuşu (The Autobiography of a Turkish Girl) now available in a complete, new English translation

  1. Mane


    I wanted to purchase the book but now it’s only available in Kindle format. Any chance to find its printed version? I’m going to the states in July (I’m from Chile), maybe I can get a copy …

    Thank you for the work done.

  2. Roger W. Smith Post author

    If you need additional help purchasing the book, you may email me and I will try to assist you. My email address is on the About section of this site.

  3. Roger W. Smith Post author

    When you go to the Amazon.com site, it will give you buying options Click on PAPERBACK. It says “in stock” (available) for the paperback.

  4. Roger W. Smith Post author

    Hello. One of my replies to you got deleted just now, so I am sending this again.

    You can get the paperback version of Calikusu (available now) at amazon.com. I just went to their site. Under books, search for Calikusu. You will see buying options (formats). It indicates that the paperback edition is available.

  5. Mane

    Hi Roger,
    You are right! I must have been really sleepy I did not even try selecting another option.
    Thank you again.

  6. Roger W. Smith Post author

    If you go to http://www.abebooks.com

    And search for copies of Calikusu (search for TITLE “Calikusu)

    You will see that there is 1 copy available for sale for around $34 from a bookseller in the United Kingdom

    you would have to pay postage

    believe me, $45 is a good deal, considering that the book is finally available in a complete English translation

  7. Orhan

    Hi, if you want to get printed version of this book, there is a website in Turkey called “nadirkitap.com”. This site is kind of a pool containnig old editions of some books and you can buy anything on this site. I checked it and there are three copies of this book. (I also have one in my library.) Please send me an e-mail for your questions so I can lead you. orhardavutkavkas@outlook.com

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